I love coffee; I need coffee. Coffee is my vice but as Lou Reed said 'Vice is a virtue and virtue is a vice' so that's good enough for me. As I writer, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops curating content. But if the vibes not right and the coffee is bad then this can sometimes be nigh impossible.
I discovered Tower 47 purely by chance when researching another article; a narrow doorway nestled quite humbly between the Barfly and Roundhouse in Camden. Beyond the small doorway is a labyrinth of small rooms and cosy corners. Matt and Sydney are the proprietors and give me a guided tour of the place they built up from an idea, a simple notion of 'What if..?.'
So I gather pretty quickly that this isn't any ordinary coffee shop, Tower 47 is equipped with rehearsal space, single space for one musician to be on their own to practice as well as used for tuition. The workshop is proving popular with bands popping down from the local venues to have work done. There is also a nod of respect from the local music shops along Denmark Street, who bring their amps over to have their valves replaced by one of the very few people who can do exactly that.
I also get a sneak preview of the space to the back that is set to be a prohibition era- like live music venue. The original York stone paving which was unearthed during some of renovations, work in tandem with the Darren West Neon artwork and Sabian logos. Sydney is from New York and enthuses about the original features "These are older than my country!"
Back in the café area I test what I came in for - coffee. Not one but three. I get the option to sample all the beans, and I'm presented with three double espressos. All very different, who knew that coffee could be so varied in flavours? A Light 75% Ethiopian 25% Colombian blend is so citrusy and the most popular one to 'be seen' drinking. Then the more familiar medium and dark blends are more akin to my usual type of coffee but the medium blend is so smooth and the dark is definitely my favourite. So if I'm not wired enough already I then get to try them all again, this time with milk. I now have a favourite. A definite favourite. I think.
Tower 47 is evidence that if you believe in something enough that your hard work will pay off, and There is no shortage of hard work going on here by these self-taught baristas, I also know they spent the best part of two years searching for an authentic bagel. Now if that isn't perfectionism then I don't know what is.
This is my kind of place, people sit quietly undisturbed, and there is no rushing here. People come here to sit and stay. When you meet Matt and Sydney, It is easy to see why a place like Tower 47 exists. They are the Yin and Yang that breathe life into the place resulting in a hybrid of a cafe and Warhol's Factory with the familiarity of your favourite vinyl shop from your youth. The place you go to with the expectation of one thing and leave with a lot more than you bargained for.
Matt and Sydney created their dream without a hint of ego or arrogance, and this is one of the reasons why Tower 47 is doing so well. It speaks for itself. By the sounds of it, Tower 47 isn't a work in progress; it's going to be an ongoing labour of love with bigger and better ideas forever in the pipeline, but by no means just pipe dreams.
I popped in for a coffee; I had six. I now know all about valves in amps, coffee beans, blends and I'll be back for my lesson on how to grind beans to extract the fullest flavour. I know where my latest hideout to generate my ideas will be... I'm not sure how much work I'll get done though.
Guys, Let me know when you build the turret...